08/2/14

“I Know That You Are In There…”1990 (Chapter 44)

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“Open The Door…”

Cue the melodramatic music, and watch-in disbelief- as the heroine, in slow motion, reaches out her hand to turn the door knob, opening the door to let the evil inside…

That was not going to be me, I felt like I was sleep walking, this was the stuff that nightmares were made of.

At least the nightmares that I had been having for the last several months. What a surreal moment, I knew that it could not be true, that I should pinch myself to make sure that I was awake. Standing in front of the door in my pajamas, waiting for the Director to yell “CUT!”.

Luckily, sanity took hold and I pulled my hand away from the door at the last second.

In my dreams I had never felt my heart beat so hard, threatening to burst out of my chest.

Or felt the hair on my arms stand straight up.

This was real, I was awake.

Even though Larry and I had planned, for weeks, for every possible situation, all our planning had been for naught, this had not even been a possibility.

Hubby was supposed to land in the states, TODAY.

On the West Coast, TODAY.

He should not be HERE, not NOW.

But he was.

No more wondering, in fear. No more worrying myself to death as I waited.

I had the answer to the question, “When would Hubby arrive?”

I had been fearing the question.

Now, knowing, I feared the answer more.

At this point in the story…

Everyone asks, “What did you do?”

This seems to be the pivotal point.

What I did, at this very moment, could change the story-line.

Right here, right now.

This moment defined my future.

I had several options.

I could have opened the door, allowed him to have his say. Let him grovel in person, instead of over the phone. I knew that everyone expected me to do this.

To see the error of my ways. To rip the Scarlet Letter off of my chest, denouncing my relationship with Larry.  Falling at the feet of my Hubby sobbing for forgiveness.

To pack my bags and return to my marriage and our home.

Looking in from the outside, maybe this is what everyone thought that I should do.

After all, I was only 21 years old, I had made mistakes, I was too young to understand marriage. My hubby was a respected member of our military. Beloved by his family.

This could have been the answer, it would be the end of this story, our reunion morphed into a “Happily Ever After”.

But, I knew things that the others, those looking in from the outside, did not.

I knew that hubby had hurt someone in the past.

In the recent past.

I also knew that the person that he had hurt was a woman.

A woman who was just doing her job.

When his buddies told me the story they laughed it off.

He was drunk.

It was a boyish misdemeanor.

He missed me.

He missed me so much that he got so incredibly drunk.

So incredibly drunk that he did not remember.

He missed me so much that he got so drunk that he hurt someone, a woman, and he did not remember.

Harlequin Romance Addict…

That was me.

All I heard, all that registered, was that he missed me.

He missed me so much that he got drunk.

He missed me so much that he got drunk and that he did not remember what had happened.

Actually, all I heard was HE MISSED ME.

Had anyone ever loved me so much that they did unspeakable things-because missing ME-hurt so much?

How romantic.

This must be true love. I was the only thing that he needed in life.

Being with me would make things better. All would be right in our world-if we were together.

I dismissed the fact that he had hurt someone. I am not sure that I even heard that part of the story.

I was hung up on the fact that he needed me, he loved me, he missed me.

No one had ever loved me that much.

Ever.

This had to be it.

The love that I had been searching for my entire life, the whole twenty years of it. I was so desperate to be loved, and loved desperately, none of the other details mattered.

But, right now, in this very moment…

Standing in front of the door, wearing very little clothing, I felt naked. Inside and out. All of the pretenses were gone. Over the last six months the rose-colored glasses had come off.

No longer did I believe that the man on the other side of the door was my one true love.

My other half.

My soul mate.

No longer did I believe that he loved me. No longer did I believe that my absence had pushed him to drink himself into a stupor, absolving him of his actions.

I now saw him for what he was. When he turned and coldly walked away from me in the airport, just 7 months prior, he had given me clarity. I could see him now, who he really was.

Standing in front of the door…

Hand outstretched to turn the knob, I woke up-quickly. A decision had to be made.

All of the expectations weighed heavily, the expectations of friends and family, my expectations of myself. The fairy-tale dreams I had had for my future. But all of these expectations were weighed against my fears.

Fears for my physical and mental well-being. Fears that pointed to a lifetime of terror.

In this very second I had to decide, were my fears real? Was I over-dramatizing the situation?

As my hand hung in mid-air in front of the door my life hung in the balance. My mind was spinning, searching for the answer, and then I heard it, from deep inside.

The last words that were spoken before the connection had been lost.

Words spoken in the Philippines that echoed around the world, “I am going to kill you.” 

I slowly backed away from the door, cowering into the dark bedroom. I sat thanking God that I had not been awake, that I had not yet gotten up to make breakfast, that I had not turned on the television. There were no sounds coming from the inside of the apartment, nothing to give away my presence.

Even though I knew he could not hear me, I held my breath, attempting to wait him out. Soon, he would leave.

I prayed that he would leave.

That he would not break down the down.

This was not going to be the day I died.

I was alone, in the dark, in a life before cell phones. I could not text anyone to come to my rescue.

I could not cower in the dark and call someone-anyone, our only phone was in the living room, near the front door.

Never had I been so appreciative for the lack of windows in the apartment.

I could not see out, but, thankfully he could not see in.

Once again the apartment became a “rabbit hole” and I cowered inside, hiding from evil.

 

 

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Did you miss the Beginning?

Read the whole the story….

 

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07/30/14

Perspective…

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When you focus…

things can change. Maybe not the facts of the situation but, at the very least, the way that you feel about them.

Today…

A regular day. I was at work, doing my thing. Answering phones, placing orders, greeting customers and helping them to design the cakes of their dreams.

It really is much more difficult than it sounds, decorating the cake of someone else’s dreams. We look at things so differently. We like different things, we all perceive “pretty” in our own way, or “cool” or “current”. It really is much more difficult than it sounds.

To top it all off…I am sick again. Miserable aching, nausea, temperature, head-achy, foggy miserable. My temperature is centered in my head and my neck and it makes it very hard to think. Although I am “manning up” and “pulling my weight”,my brain has a very difficult time switching gears and getting the creativity to flow.

And, I am scared. Nervous. Worried. Am I going to get better again? Or worse? I try my best to keep my feelings buried at work, ordering a cake should be a happy experience. I owe that to my clients. But underneath the fear is brewing, constantly simmering, threatening to boil over.

Yeah, I will admit. I am feeling sorry for myself. I’m not proud of it. I like routine. I like things dependable. When I am sick I can not depend on my body or my mind. That scares me.

In she walked…

A normal woman. Dressed comfortably. She wanted to look around. Not sure what she wanted. At least that is what she said. Grabbing a book of custom designed cakes she found one that caught her eye. A pink and white stacked cake, the topper was a big number 16. Her daughter was turning 16.

What a sweet time in life. Your baby girl is growing up. Becoming a young adult. This mom wanted to honor the occasion. To do something special for her daughter.

She asked me for an estimate and decided to keep looking. She never said that she could not afford it, or that it was more money than she wanted to spend. Class act.

I pulled her over to my computer to show her some pictures of Sweet Sixteen cakes and we started talking. Her daughter is in the same school system as mine. Just a year older.

We worked on designing a cake that fit into her budget and chatted some more.

I asked questions, what did her daughter like, sports, clothes, shopping…what did she do? Trying to get an idea of what to put on the cake. But the girl did not play sports or have a hobby. I was stumped and a bit frustrated.

We talked colors, stripes, dots, flowers…we were getting somewhere.

But what she said next changed my perspective.

Her daughter was sick. That peaked my interest. She had a very rare type of cancer. And she had been battling it for the last year and a half.

Now I attempted to talk to her around the huge lump in my throat. She was an incredible mom. Wanting to do something incredible for her daughter. Something to honor the occasion.

And something to celebrate her life.

I called the Cake Decorators, asked them to make this the best Sweet Sixteen cake ever. Do it up, make it awesome. I wanted to pay for the entire cake, but the Mom paid cash before she left-so I will take care of the difference.

“Out of all the Gin Joints…”

That this mother could have walked into. She walked into mine. She changed my perspective. After all they have been through, with all the uncertainty, all the fears, and the unanswered questions about the future-she was a class act.

Here I am, feeling sorry for myself. I owe her more than she knows. She changed the way that I look at my illness, my life, and my future.

It really sucks to be sick. Honestly. But I would be sick a million times before I would ever want to see my children suffer.

So, right now, (and for the last several hours) I am thankful, I am grateful. And I hope to hold on to that feeling, for as long as I can.

 

XOXOXOXO,

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06/29/14

I Hate Confrontation…

All you need is...

All you need is…

Just a little bit of trivia about me…

I don’t like to argue. I don’t like bad feelings. I hate it when I say something that hurts others. I hate that I am grumpy in the mornings, mostly I just don’t really like mornings. Give me an hour of quiet time and a couple cups of coffee…if “morning” could start an hour after I wake, all would be well within my world.

But I digress,

When I wrote Oh Lord, My Church Is Full Of Sinners… I was waiting for the backlash, the disagreement, the harsh words. Even before I wrote it. In fact, I put the article off for months because I did not want the confrontation.

Imagine my surprise when I did not receive any negative comments. None. Not a one. Not only did I not receive any negative feedback, there was absolutely no feedback at all. This is a dilemma. As a writer, a person, and as a Christian.

I know that the article was read, my statistics tell me how many times it was read, how it was accessed, and how much time readers invested in the article.

I geared myself up to defend my beliefs and I did not end up having to do so.

Then life got busy. I began a new job, ending up working 60+ hours a week with just one day off to recuperate before it begins again. My brain has not really been working…it takes Sunday off too. I haven’t visited my own blog in weeks, so Friday when I logged on I was surprised to see someone had left me a comment.

I assumed that the comment was placed on my recent post on the death of our Sweet Baby Rosie, my thoughts have been consumed by her in the last week.

Ah…it has been just a week.

And I miss her just as much today as I did last Sunday.

Ah…it has only been a week.

So…

We all get busy in life. We are wrapped up in what is going on in our present. Our family, marriage, children, jobs. Life gets in the way sometimes. For all of us.

But, as I live each day I learn a bit more. About myself, my faith, beliefs and how I want my children to perceive the world. They are growing into adulthood, forming their own beliefs on the way. I see how much influence Bruce and I have over their thoughts and I want to make sure that I am doing them no harm. How I act, how I treat others, is a model for them. And I hope to set the bar high, so they reach and think as they grow. That they think not only with their head but with their hearts.

The greatest gifts

God, in my opinion, gave us many incredible gifts-too many to name.

One of these gifts was love. The ability to give it and the ability to feel it.

I think that the reason that we miss our Sweet Baby Rosie so much is that she was LOVE. Pure love. She radiated joy. Always. Constantly. And no one was left out. She included everyone that she came in contact with. Each and every day she gave so much.

When we had hard times, she comforted us. When we danced, she danced with us. She never held a grudge, she never pouted. Not once did she ever make us feel that we were not doing enough for her. That we weren’t enough for her. To her, we were her whole world.

Now that she is gone, we realize how much we were loved. And we miss it. It is a HUGE hole.

We are all in mourning. The loss of this pure soul is devastating. My daughter and I were talking about it, the loss. And we agreed, that if we could take away the pain by forgetting Rosie-we would not do it. Although we are floundering and devastated, we choose to be unhappy, we choose love.

Humans are not the only species that bond, that love. When we were having financial issues due to my illness we were worried about losing our home. We love our house and have worked to make it a family hub. But our biggest concern was that if we lost our home it was unlikely that we would be able to take Rosie with us into a rental.

In fact, we had many conversations about it. We could take her to live with my parents, they loved her. She was a “grand-pup” to them. Just saying the words, “Nanna and Papa”, incited her to dance. She loved them as much as they loved her. We even discussed it with my parents, hoping they would come to a different conclusion than we had. But they agreed, although she loved them we were her family. We were her “Joy”. Even if we visited every weekend, we all knew that it would not be long before she died of a broken heart.

Another gift…

Is discernment. Wisdom. Intellect. Reason. God gave us a brain. Each and every species that inhabit this world.

But He gave humans the ability to think. To make decisions, form opinions, beliefs. He gave us the ability to choose to follow Him, but He also gave us the ability to decide not to follow.

He gave us the ability to read His words and the brain to figure out what those words meant to us.

Humans are not the only species to love. Turtle Doves, Bald Eagles, Swans, Gibbons all mate for life. In fact, these animals are much better at lifelong relationships than humans.

They don’t choose to divorce. They do not feel jealousy or hatred. They don’t have stressful jobs or dreams they will do anything to attain. These characteristics are human, they come with our brain, our ability to think, to choose.

I live in Indiana

For three days this past week thousands  of couples were joined together in wedded bliss in Indiana. Love abounded. Pure love. Love with no boundaries. Anyone who loved could be married. ANYONE.

From Wednesday morning until Friday evening. It was a “Rosie” kind of feeling for 3 whole days, pure love and joy, in the state of Indiana. Although I am grieving Rosie, my heart was filled with pure joy, knowing that others were being able to validate love. Share love, spread love and witness love.

God gave us many tremendous gifts

Two of them are love and discernment. I believe that these are gifts that He gave to us and He intended for us to use them. Each and every one of us. I know that I did not go into “why” I believe what I believe, and that is the crux of the matter to many. I have researched, and read, and prayed. I have loved and lost and seen love and loss in others.

God’s greatest commandments directed us to love…

  1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
  2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself

Life is too short here on Earth. Too short to restrict love. To deny love. To judge love.

I am leaving you with a video that I believe. I am grabbing onto the love that was gifted to us, I am using my mind to discern what I believe. How I believe. Who I believe.

And I am wishing that each and everyone of you know PURE LOVE.

For whomever you have love and feel love grab onto it, with both hands. It is a gift that has been given to you, accept it, revel in it, roll in it. When you see it recognize it. Cherish it. Know it.

 

 

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I truly believe this video and all it states. Use your heart and your mind. Love your neighbor and pass it on!

P.S. Just because I was shocked at the lack of confrontational comments does not mean that this post is inviting them, if you have something that you want to say…I request that you say it with kindness. Say it with thought. Say it with discernment. I would love to hear your thoughts but only if they are stated with respect. xooxoxoox

 

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06/27/14

The Miracle That She Was…

Georgia and Rosie (Rosie is about 2 months old here.)

Georgia and Rosie
(Rosie is about 2 months old here.)

If you are friends or followers on Facebook…

 

You know that our Sweet Baby Girl, Rosie, has died. We are devastated by her loss. She was our child-with the fur and tail. We loved her deeply.

We are reflecting on our lives with her, and we are realizing how incredibly lucky blessed we were to have her in our family.

If things would have went the way that we planned, she wouldn’t have. You know what they say about “The best laid plans”…

The Planning…

We moved into our home in March 2006.

Doing all the normal move in duties…deciding what would go where, painting all the walls delicious colors, choosing bedrooms, and reveling in all of the space. Spring sprung, but our home was a new build, and the spring showers turned our grass-less yard into mud. But we didn’t let that stop us. We put in our garden, traipsing through the yard mud to sow our seeds.

Bruce and I were also yearning for a dog. What good is all this open backyard without a dog to muck it up.

This is a big decision for a married couple. We both grew up with dogs, each family having their preferred breed. My family had Golden Retrievers, a loving docile dog. I owned Chows in my early 20s, and Levi’s first dog was a lab/chow mix. Bruce and I were not sure what type of dog that we wanted, but we knew we were looking for a loving pooch that would protect our children as much as she wanted to play with them.

We studied dogs breeds and traits. Size’ and how much shedding we could tolerate, were top considerations. But most of all we wanted a dog that would love us as much as we would love her.

I was thinking German Shepard. It was protective. Loving. But I was not sure that I could handle all of the hair. All of the hair. ALL OVER THE HOUSE.

As I was trying to figure out how to manage the dog hair, Bruce had other ideas.

His research (and his heart) led him to the Boxer breed.

Boxer’s were the original police dog. They were strong, trainable, protective. I wasn’t sure that this was the breed for us, but Bruce (and the adorable photos I found on line) won me over. We were hoping for a female pup, as female Boxers were extremely protective of the children in their families.

Our research took considerable time, spring had led into summer, now it was fall. We combed the newspaper for Boxer puppies for sale. We wanted one from our area, from a private breeder. A good blood line. We were not planning to register her, or preen her for dog shows, but Boxers are prone to hip issues and we wanted to make sure that we were doing our best by our kids, and ourselves. And for our new addition.

And months later…

We found her!

There was an ad from a breeder who had a  litter of pups, she was only an few hours away from us, so we called. At that time she only had one pup left. A little girl. A healthy little girl. We claimed her. And we would be picking her up in a few weeks. It was now December, but we didn’t let winter stop us!

D-Day

Dog Day, that is, was finally here. Unbelievable, as we look back on it now, we were picking up a pup, one that we had never seen. It had taken so long for us to find a dog that fit all of our parameters, so we were taking a leap of faith. That she was the “ONE”, the one that we were destined to have.

About a half hour into our road trip we called the Breeder to let her know that we were on the way. We were so excited! Bruce, Georgia and I had cleaned out the pet store that morning, and our newly purchased dog crate filled the back seat next to Georgia. We had place a very loved, soft blanket in the crate and our puppy’s new bowls, food, treats and collar were in a bag on the floor. We were ready, and so excited!

Best Laid Plans…

The answer that we received from the Breeder was the last one that we expected, and blew our plans to smithereens. She had given our pup away, just last night, to someone else. SHE. GAVE. OUR. PUP. TO. SOMEONE. ELSE.

We pulled the car over, attempting to breath, to figure this out. Georgia, who was just 6 years old, began to cry. Quietly sobbing as she looked at all of the puppy things beside her in the backseat. Items that she helped us choose with such thought and love. Items for a puppy that we would never see.

Bruce and I comforted her, scrambling to figure things out.

We stopped at a gas station grabbing a local sales newspaper and then pulled into Georgia’s favorite restaurant, Steak and Shake. Hoping that the paper held our answer while a milkshake soothed.

We searched and called. And searched and called. For hours we sat in Steak and Shake, searching and calling. Telling our story to Breeder after Breeder, only to hear that all their pups had been claimed.

Working our way through the list, we made another call. There were 9 pups in this litter, and 4 were claimed. They were only 3 weeks old and the owner was not permitting anyone outside of immediate family entry, the pups were still too little for company. But after hearing our story, and our daughters soft sobs, we were granted access. To us, this was tantamount to finding a “Golden Ticket”. We jumped into the car, driving an hour in anticipation of seeing our girl.

As we approached the home…

That held our precious sweet girl, we almost turned around. The yard was not taken care of, neither was the house trailer that we pulled up in front of. But none of that mattered to Georgia, so Bruce and I sucked it up and knocked.

Our knock incited chaos. Loud barking came from the back of the home, multiple dogs making themselves heard. As we walked into the trailer it was dark, gloomy and smelled. We were a bit uncomfortable. But the Breeder was extremely nice and welcoming. As our eyes adjusted to the dark  we saw a pen in the middle of the livingroom, full of beautiful fawn baby boxers. Discomfort faded quickly as the door to the pen was opened and the beauties came rolling out. Pushing, shoving, romping as only a puppy can.

We were in love.

Several of the babies had necklaces, claiming them, we focused on the 5 pups that were not already promised. And we fell, hard. Only we each fell for a different pup.

Georgia fell for the runt. She was so tiny, all of them were really, but this one was so little and she loved to cuddle in Georgia’s lap. I fell for a robust pup and Bruce fell for a third. We needed to make a decision quickly, the Breeder had asked that we not stay long as the pups were so small.

After much discussion, Bruce’s pup was the one to claim our necklace. Georgia had one with her and we used it to stake our claim. The pup was a beauty, her markings lovely, she had a spot on her nose shaped like a heart. It was so hard to leave her there, but we would be back in about 4 weeks to take her home with us.

We insisted, before we left, on putting money on this pup. Losing another would have re-broken our hearts. A written receipt was also a demand, which the Breeder humored us with. And we left, slightly disappointed not to have our baby in tow, but knowing we would have her soon.

Planning…Laugh Out Loud!!!

Since we had a month we decided to take the time to slowly purchase everything that we needed for our pups homecoming, and we got serious about a name. Once again, we all had different ideas. We spent our free time combing baby name books trying to unanimously choose a moniker.

Then the call came from the Breeder. Our pups momma had stopped feeding her offspring. Although they were not quite 5 weeks old, we needed to come get her ASAP.

We ran to the car in excitement, when we returned home we would now be a family of 5, instead of 4. Each of us was a bit nervous, she was only the size of a peanut, she fit in the palm of our hands.  About 5 inches long, and barely 2 or 3 pounds. But she was ours, and we were in love.

We brought her home, the miracle that almost wasn’t.

 

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05/16/14

Just A Quickie…

Man, I sure have missed you all!!

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Forgive my quickly taken photos!!!

The last few weeks have been crazy! Attempting to finish what I started, while starting something new…phew! It has been a bit time consuming and exhausting!

I started my new position full time last week, at Hall’s Takes The Cake and Catering. I never realized how large and busy the Hall’s family restaurants are! There are more locations than I can count and the amount of outside caterings are mind-boggling! Although the company is family owned and family run, it is a well-oiled machine.

I have been having a great time helping clients to design cakes that they are ordering for special occasions. This is the busiest time of the year for our department. First Communion, Confirmation, Easter, Mother’s Day, Graduation and Weddings. It is fun to be a part of someone’s celebration plans, and I love seeing how talented our Decorators are.

I spent a day with the Decorators, and they blew me away!

What else I have been up to…

For Mother’s Day I asked for mulch…the landscaping in the front of the house needs some serious spring renewal, and the mulch along the drive was most pressing. Only problem, we have ants…millions of ants! The mulch looks great and although I wore gloves and worked as quickly as possible…I still got bit!

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You don’t feel the bites as they happen, but the next day they itch like crazy! I look like I have something contagious! Yuck! But the mulch looks great, one job down.

I drenched the ants with strong vinegar, hopefully it will kill some of them off. I don’t want to use anything toxic. The ants live in all of our landscaping and garden, they are a pain!

The thistles are thriving in the backyard I have yet to get to them, but I removed approximately 50 of these pesky weeds from the front of the house. You would think that we are an ant and thistle farm!

Have any of you successfully killed ants without using poison? Need some suggestions?

After 6 months of growing dead plants

I finally got some new plants for the inside planters! Although the dead ones were easier to take care of…this looks much better! Let’s see if I can remember to water them!

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 Just wanted to check in…

And let you all know that I am still kickin’! I have a half day off today…but, not up to a post that needs some thought. Those will have to wait until I get a full day off…just 2 weeks away! LOL!

Let me know what you are up to…anything new? Fun? Crazy?

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P.S. The schedule is still heck on the diet…gained another pound! Ug! When things settle a bit hubby and I are going to enjoy some walks…thinking about getting a set of bikes…and then there is the garden…it needs a complete overhaul, as well as the pond! Hopefully we will both shed the pounds we have gained!

 

P.S.S. As you can see I am a bit over-excited to write a post…extreme over use of the “!” above…LOL

 

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05/6/14

Oh Lord, My Church Is Full Of Sinners…

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There have been some things spinning around in my brain…

For some time now.

I have giving these thoughts time to marinate, before writing about them. Last weeks post for Finish The Sentence Friday, seemed to bring things to the forefront, and I cannot stop thinking about them. So…I am going to throw my thoughts out to the world and attempt to tie them all together. When I write I am not trying to tell you how to think, or what to think, but maybe, just maybe, it will cause us all to think a little bit deeper.

These thoughts will take several posts to tie together, I hope that you can with-hold judgement until the end, stick with me over the next several articles and maybe you will understand where I am “coming from” and where I am trying to “get to”. These topics are controversial hot topics in today’s society, polarizing, I hesitated to write about my beliefs but I could not get them out of my mind. I researched and read and prayed.

To begin, let me tell you a bit more about myself, so you can see where I am coming from. I am a Christian. I was raised in a small Methodist Church. My grand-parents were members, as well as my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts and uncles and many others who we call family.

I grew up believing in God, and I still do.

In fact, I was in the church choir, a teacher for Sunday and Bible school, an acolyte, and the custodian for the church. As you can see, I spent a lot of my youth in church.

Until recently, I had spent quite a bit of my time as an adult in church also.

One Sunday morning my husband and I were seated in church awaiting the service, the band played some incredible gospel music, getting us ready to open our hearts to hear the word. I loved this point of the service, watching everyone sing and raise their hands to the heavens. Creating a bond between the hundreds gathered, In His Name.

We were eager to hear the sermon, the topic was marriage, my husband is my mate as well as my best-friend. We are always open to ways to strengthen our marriage.

The pastor started speaking about Adam and Eve. Begin at the beginning, right? But then the topic of emphasis became apparent. We had come excited to hear about developing our marriage, and were sadly disappointed. The topic stressed was not what we were expecting.

Differences. How Adam and Eve were mates because they were different. One was male and the other female.

The entire sermon was about differences.

Before the sermon we greeted those around us, shaking hands and wishing them a good morning. It is a nice way in a large church, to get to know those you share space with, while you open your heart to the Word of God. There were 2 young men seated directly in front of us. They were in their late teens, early 20′s. My heart was happy to see them, and greet them.

Two young men, without parents in tow, who chose to spend Sunday morning in church. They were not sleeping off  a party from Saturday night. These two young men were dressed nicely, friendly and respectful to us old folk around them. How nice.

I did not think anymore about them. I sat back to listen to the pastor. As the sermon topic became evident I saw one of the boys move closer to the other, sliding into the chair that had separated them earlier. They listened to the pastor speak, but their posture became stiff, rigid.

Leaning over slightly to whisper into his friend’s ear, one of the young men got up and walked out of the sanctuary, into the lobby.

I began to think a bit more about these young men. Realizing that they were more than friends.

The young man in front of us stayed in his seat but kept turning his head to see if his seatmate was returning. I listened to the pastor and watched the scene enfold in front of me. I was a bit sick to my stomach, feeling like a voyeur to a sea of emotions and feelings laid out before my eyes.

The second young man returned, whispering once again to his friend, touching his shoulder, looking into his eyes, and they got up and left.

I do not know that my interpretation of their relationship was correct, but my husband saw it all play out and came up with the same conclusion. These young men, clean cut, handsome, well dressed, pleasant, respectful young men-the future of our church and the disciples of our faith-were a couple.

They chose to come to our church, to soak in the Word of God, to be a part of our Church Family. Instead of finding love and acceptance, they found judgement. It broke my heart.

At this point

You may stop reading, I may have lost you. And if so, I am sorry that you cannot put yourself in my chair that Sunday morning, witness to that heartbreaking moment. But the God that I believe in, follow, and worship,  He includes each and every one of us. He loves each and every one of us. No matter what.

In fact, the greatest commandment is followed by a second…

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “

We are all sinners…

Each and every single one of us.

Getting up early is not something I am joyous about. Even on Sunday mornings. I grumble, I am grumpy, I complain. I don’t believe that God finds my complaining about getting up and going to church as a loving gesture. Still He welcomes me into His family. On the way to church, running late-as usual, I grumble about the traffic, the lack of parking, the fact that it is cold and rainy.

Endearing? No.

Christ-like? Definitely not.

I probably yelled at my kids, who were taking their sweet time getting into the car. Praying for the chair beside mine to remain empty during the service, so I do not have to share my “space” with another one of God’s children, what a great Believer I am! Or the envious feelings that I have over the gorgeous, expensive purse (or shoes, or jewelry, or outfit, or hair) belonging to the woman who does end up sitting beside me…oh, I am sure that God is warmed by my Christ-like behavior.

Sound familiar? I know that I cannot be the only one stumbling my way through life as a sinner. Church is for the sick, just like a hospital, we are all there to be healed. We each have our own sins. So when did it become a competition? When did we get to decide that our sins are less than others? That we deserve our seat in the congregation more than someone else, more than God’s other child.

There are 10 other Commandments…

And I am sure that I break them all. In fact I broke most of them in the paragraph above. I coveted someone else’s physical being or belongs. In church I put my thoughts of myself above my thoughts for the Lord, thoughts of things. I may not have wanted to Kill the other drivers on my way to church, but I was not having kind thoughts for them either. And the OMG that I spoke in disdain of the inclement weather…taking the Lord’s name in vain.

The Lord asks us to love thy neighbor as thyself. Each and every one of us are His children. Even when we are not lovable, kind, or judgmental.

Each one of us sins. It is inevitable. He knows each thought that we think, every urge we attempt to push under the surface, each and every thing that we try to hide from others around us. And through His Grace, we are always loved. We do not have to earn His love, it is just there, always.

If we had to earn our way into God’s good graces, how many of us could?

 

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Disclaimer:

More thoughts will follow this post, if you find fault with what I have written-stay tuned. I am not judging the young men in front of me, they may have been just friends, they may have a relationship, either way-I am not judging them. This interaction is the starting point for this installment of posts-just the starting point. Many of you may attend or belong to the same church or a church that is similar, I am not telling you that you are wrong to go there or to belong, I am not judging. I am questioning, and searching, while attempting to love my neighbor as myself.

“But … God put a brain in our heads for a reason. So we can think, and learn, and teach. So we can understand and do what is right, just and fair. So we can have insight and discernment. So our lives will be ordered, productive and we can sometimes make wise choices.”  Timothy T. Henry

Luke 6:41
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

 

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05/4/14

Advice Needed!! Calories In Versus Calories Out.

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If you read my site…

You know that my husband and I have been working like crazy. For the last 5 months we have worked 7 days a week. Working more than one job, we enjoy the variety and the extra paychecks.

When we first started our office cleaning venture, 5 months ago,  we each lost a few pounds.

Yippee. (Not an excited “Yippee” cause it didn’t last.)

The building that we clean is 30,000+ square feet, we vacuum, sweep, mop, dust the entire building. There are approximately 600 garbage bags that need hauled out and replaced. For 9+ hours every weekend (it takes 3 days as it is physically taxing) for us to complete.

As you can imagine, we are tired. All the time, tired.

Over the last few months we have noticed that we are each gaining weight. Especially around our mid-section. It seems crazy. We do so much walking, carrying, hauling, as well as keep up our own home and work our other jobs. We are baffled.

Calories out…

I did some research on calorie burning…at minimum we are burning 300 calories and hour, for 9 hours each weekend. We have not increased our food intake much. We are burning 2,700 calories while we clean (at a minimum we are practically running the whole time), plus calories burned while we grocery shop and take care of our house and yard.

Calories in…

This is an example of what I eat…pretty much the same menu every day.

2 cups coffee with non-dairy creamer and sugar=180 calories

1 banana=105 calories

granola bar=170 calories

1 cup yogurt=100 calories

1 medium muffin=350 calories

average dinner=700 calories

Total calories per day average=1,605

I may sneak in some veggies and dip, an apple or some Twizzlers. But I would rarely have these items along with the muffin, they are interchangeable.

I also drink a Zija/Moringa drink, with 90+ verifiable, cell-ready vitamins, minerals, vital proteins, antioxidants, omega oils. Helping me to reach my daily values of nutrients.

We both drink 6-8 glasses of water a day also.

I eat until I am full, there is no more room to eat any more. None.

Help!

I am assuming that we are expending more calories than we are consuming so our bodies have decided to begin storing our food, i.e. hibernation. Especially since the weight is mainly in our mid-section.

Is this a valid assumption?

We are trying to eat more “clean”. Tonight we are having salmon, rice and vegetables sauteed with olive oil. Last night we had omlets with ham, peppers, onions, a bit of cheese and a few hash browns (probably had more calories Bob Evans was the chef).

If my above assumption is correct I am specifically worried about the future. We have 3 weeks left on our cleaning job. My hubby is going to continue to clean for about 5 hours a week-end (at a much less taxing office), giving him at least 1 day a week off work. I am going to be working full time ,at a desk job, in an office, I move around quite a bit, and I should have at least 1 day a week off work.

We will be burning far fewer calories, will this sudden drop cause us to gain more weight???

My husband is going to join a gym so he can work-out. That route will not work for me and my disease, it would be wasted. I will be walking a mile or so a day, perhaps two miles, also working in the yard and garden.

Please give us some advice, we really want to take off the weight that we have gained, it is making us miserable and a bit depressed. It was hard enough to haul ourselves around before!

Do you have suggestions on what we should be doing now as well as when we leave our cleaning position?

I am 46 years old and my husband is 42. We are both about 20 pounds heavier than we would like to be and do not want to gain another pound!

Since our work schedule is so intense, at the moment, we rarely get 8 hours of sleep, hoping that will change soon too.

Questions???

What activity would you suggest to burn calories and target our mid-section? Something not too intense as my “disease” prohibits anything too crazy.

What foods could help our situation?

I know that I am at the age a woman gathers a belly, but I don’t want one! Are you battling the same issue? Or have you conquered it??

I also like to eat as clean or natural as possible, no shakes, protein powders, additives etc. I limit fat-my body does not do well with it-and dairy. I love cheese, but do not drink milk products.

If you have even the smallest suggestion comment below. I would love to purchase some new clothes for work, but do not want to have to go up a size! Arg!

Anything that I should be focusing on that I have not asked?

It is spring, summer is approaching, this hibernation body needs to go! Help!!!

 

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05/2/14

The Line Between Life And Death…

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Is incredibly thin.

It is unfathomable to me how one decision, one feeling, one action can make the line obsolete. One moment someone is here, on earth, and the next they are gone.

Each day we pass others on the street, wave hello, proffer a smile to a stranger, or hug friends/family members. Not realizing that this may be the last wave, smile or hug that may be exchanged. Ever.

Three pivotal men…

Played rolls in my life. Each one instigated or had a part in changing the direction of my life.

That is a huge thing.

To me these men have held room in my memory. For over 20 years they have lived within the pages of the scrap book in my mind. For over 20 years.

Two of these men never knew how drastically they effected my life. They were living their lives, consuming, gaining, profiting. I was collateral damage. A bit, or blip, on the radar of their existence. The destination of my life was altered by their choices. I was just one of many.

The third man was my life. My heart. My love. His life was directly altered by the first two men. He was dispensable. They threw him away.

Each one of them…

Over the last 20 years, had skirted the line between life and death. Flirted with it. Lived on the edge. Until they didn’t. Live, that is.

All three of these men, these men that were pivotal in my life, committed suicide.

Each one of them.

There are tears in my eyes…

And a sick feeling in my stomach as I write this. I am overwhelmed with sorrow and sadness.

I have been there.

I have flirted with the line. Because of life, love and depression. Or the loss of life and love.

Because, for a moment, just a moment, I could not see past-or beyond. I could not dig myself clear of the darkness. But for me, it was only a moment.

How sad, for each of these men, that they could not see the light. Not even a glimmer.

I knew,

When I was playing with the line between life and death, that if I crossed that line there was no coming back.  If I crossed the line, there were no “mulligans”, or “do overs”, or “trying again”.

In fact last year, as I lay in bed, month after month, that line was becoming very blurred. It was difficult for me to see the difference between the two sides. My life was bed-rest. Pain. Loneliness. And it was not only taking a toll on me, it was taking a toll on my husband and children. A huge toll.

For a moment, here and there, I thought about crossing the line. About taking all of my medication, about falling asleep. Checking out. Letting everyone else free of me, and the burden I was imposing upon them.

For a moment.

But unlike the three men,

Pivotal men, in my life…I still had faith. It was only the size of a mustard seed. Maybe smaller. But it was there. Inside me. A small glimmer of light.

I wish that everyone could hold within them a mustard seed.

I am saddened.

That these men could not see both sides of the line. Or a glimmer of light. Or hope.

I am devastated that they only saw two choices, pain or death.

We four lived the same life path…

We traveled together. Their choices, whether good or bad, produced my options. For many years we were braided together. Intertwined.

Though greed, avarice and gluttony were driving forces of their lives, they were still on the same path. Influencing events, and harvesting people that I loved. They were bigger than life, it seemed.

Now they are gone. They could not see their mustard seed. The line was crossed. And there is no “mulligan”, or “do over”. Each one of these men was loved. Others have been hurt deeply, because the line was crossed.

I have been the one left behind. Holding a bag of questions that will never be answered. Harboring the hurt, feeling I was not enough. Knowing that there were secrets and hurts, both too deep, too overwhelming to be spoken, darkness that was not shared with me. Wishing for over 20 years that I was enough. Carrying the guilt, like a weight on my back. Feeling inadequate, their leaving meant that I was not reason enough to stay.

And I am saddened.

Most of all, I am devastated by the fact that they could not see any reason to stay. That their pain was bigger. I cannot imagine pain, that is so big, so deep, so wide, that you cannot see past it. Pain that will not let you reach out to someone, anyone, and let them pull you away from the line.

Although I felt no love for two of these men, they were part of my life, my past.

Now, they are all gone. And I am saddened.

 

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This article was written because of overwhelming loss and sadness. It was on my heart today. Heavily.

Today is also Friday, which coincides with Finish The Sentence Friday. So, the topic today was “I have absolutely no interest in…”

This post falls into that category for me, although two of these pivotal men caused me much pain and loss, today I am not interested in what they did, decisions that they made, losses that they were a catalyst for. All of that has paled and faded by their choice to cross the line. I am not interested in retribution, or justification, or karma. I am rocked to the core by the loss. And I am sending love to each and every one of their family members and friends. I have been there. The one left behind.

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05/1/14

I Know…No One Wants To Talk About It…

Or hear about it, or see it…

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Kind of like Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru-the Three Wise Monkeys. They cover their eyes, ears and mouth in order to see no evil, hear no evil or speak no evil.

This winter had many of us hiding our eyes when the weather reports repeatedly predicted snow. We covered our ears to those same predictions, refusing to hear the “S” word one more time. When spring had supposedly sprung, we covered our mouths and the mouths of others to squelch discouraging conversations about the storms heading our way, or another cold weather front accompanied by S@&w.

It has seemed like the winter lasted far longer than normal. In fact, it did, and we set some records. Yeah.

 

So…

Winter seems to have taken its toll. Not only on our spirits and our energy levels, but on our gardens as well.

These photos were taken last year on April 23rd.

Weeping Cherry Tree

Weeping Cherry Tree

Forsythia

Forsythia

This year, a full eight days later, this is what we have…

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Same weeping cherry tree.

Same forsythia.

Same forsythia.

The weeping cherry in full bloom is a high-light of our spring. The tree is outside our front window and it is absolutely beautiful when in bloom. This year we only saw 10 blooms, maximum.

And the poor forsythia is looking not so cheerful. The snow drifts were piled so high at the end of the drive I am surprised this bush survived. But it had very few yellow leaves this year.

Everything is coming later…

And smaller-if at all. Thankful that the dogwood tree is blooming…we will just have to look out the back window to see spring, instead of out the front window and the weeping cherry tree.

Dogwood.

Dogwood.

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The biggest loss…

Due to the long, cold winter our pond suffered greatly. Although it is 30″ deep, it froze completely. This has never happened. Not once in the eight years that we have lived here.

Bruce's beautiful pond. Last year.

Bruce’s beautiful pond. Last year.

The first year that we had the pond we filled it with koi looking goldfish. Last year they were 10-12 inches long, birthing many babies each year. There were 5 larger fish and scores of babies when we approached winter. The pond was also home to many frogs, they would greet us when we walked by, and sing to us in the evening.

As the pond thawed we found the bodies of all the fish and frogs, they had frozen during the winter, and died. How heartbreaking.

Our spring…

Sadly, the hardiest perennials are the ones that we don’t want…

 

We have hundreds of thistle.

We have hundreds of thistle.

And thriving dandelions.

And thriving dandelions.

Only these weeds could thrive after snow-magedon!!!

This year…

I am hoping that we get the garden in sooner rather than later, but it has been a cold spring. Hoping for an Indian summer!

Has the winter effected your spring gardens???

 

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04/30/14

Burning The Candle At Both Ends…

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I took the leap…

I accepted The Universe’s gift with open hands. I am thankful, grateful, flattered, and exhausted.

It was fantastic to be offered the opportunity for a new career. To have someone recognize my talents, expertise that has been honed over the last 30 years, it was unbelievably incredible feeling.

So, I gathered up all the courage that I had. What was it about only 20 seconds of courage?

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo.

Well, this was an anxiety ridden 2 weeks of repetitive 20 second lengths of time. Over and over and over again.

I don’t like change and although I have been working 7 day weeks, for longer than I can remember, this was going to be a big change. Not only for me, but for others that were counting on me. For others that appreciated what I brought to the table within their business.

Not only do I dislike change, I hate hurting or disappointing people. And this was guaranteed to bring about both.

Although I was incredibly nauseous…

I did it. I turned in my notice to all of my employers. For all five of the positions that I fill. I also hate saying good-bye. I miss my lunch shift crew, we had many Magical Monday’s and Tremendous Tuesday’s together.

I will miss prepping for caterings, I spent almost 5 years with the crew at Splendid Fare, I will miss the fun and the laughs-immensely.

Two of the companies I work for, the proprietors are my friends. I realize that I am putting undue pressure on them to find qualified help, and I empathize.

The biggest reasons for the change…

I will be taking each and every talent that I have to one position. Things that I have picked up here and there all get to work together, to finally become a team.

The office is closer to home. Yes, I said office!! I have a big girl desk now!

Since part of my job is done at my desk, I believe my health will benefit. No more 15 hour shifts on my feet, or 600 garbage bags to haul around, and I will not be vacuuming, dusting and mopping 30,000+ square feet of offices.

I no longer have to work nights or Sundays.

I get to help people plan their catered events, help plan decorations for birthday, graduation and wedding cakes! How fun is that!!!

While there are MANY benefits…

 

I am burning the candle at both ends.

I gave my employers a two-week notice and I am trying to wrap up projects that I was working on, finish the book-work for one employer, schedule my new job around the weddings that I had planned for the old employer-I am not going to walk out on a bride before her wedding day.

Although I am only one week into my notice, my new employer has me coming in to train for my new position.

I accepted the opportunity so that I could end the cycle of 5 jobs and never a day off. Now I have just added to the mess.

Oh but it is a glorious mess though.

Obviously, this blog is also reflecting the change and the overload. I just wanted to stop by, let you know that I am still here, but…

Now it is time to take a hot bath and prepare once again for the madness that will ensue when the alarm clock begins ringing.

xoxoxo,

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